Gavin Hunt's side had to battle but eventually sealed their berth into the next round of the Nedbank Cup after winning a tense match via a penalty shoot-out
SuperSport United defeated Moroka Swallows 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out in order to advance to the next round of the Nedbank Cup in Pretoria on Saturday evening.
After two hours of goalless football, a winner was finally determined after George da Costa missed in the penalty shoot-out for Moroka Swallows and Bradley Grobler sent in an unerring strike to send SuperSport into the round of 16.
The defending champions were out to end their cup hoodoo against the Dube Birds, who had defeated them in the MTN8 final and the opening Telkom Knockout round during the 2012/2013 season.
Both teams struggled to find the ascendancy in the initial period of the game, as the match settled into a midfield battle.
Giorgi Nergadze sustained a serious injury in the 25th minute, enforcing a substitution for the Dube Birds with Sibusiso Khumalo coming on to replace the influential midfielder.
With thirty minutes gone there were two close shaves on either end, as Siyabonga Nomvethe was pulled down in the box when he seemed free on goal and SuperSport caught Swallows immediately on the counter, but Simba Sithole scuffed his attempt at the near post wide.
A dreary first half came to close with no further clear-cut chances, as neither side looked intent on throwing caution to the wind.
The Dube Birds came out firing as Siyabonga Nomvethe, clear on goal and in possession, seemed destined to find the opener early in the second half, but the striker was brilliantly tackled by Mor Diouf before he could unleash a strike on target.
Swallows’ increased intensity was matched by the home team, as SuperSport created the best chance of the match in the 58th minute. A counter allowed Simba Sithole some space to power a left-footed drive towards goal which crashed into the upright and deflected off Greg Etafia out of play.
Matsatsantsa threatened on numerous occasions in the final thirty minutes of the second half with new signing Bradley Grobler coming close after a defensive error gave the striker a free shot on goal, which he failed to connect as the ball trickled wide.
Swallows almost stole it at the death but Lerato Chabangu missed a gilt-edged chance with four minutes to go, as he latched onto an accurate delivery but could only direct his header straight into Ronwen Williams’ grasp.
SuperSport had the final chance of regulation time, as Nkoana found himself unmarked just inside the area and sent in a powerful header, which went wide past the right post much to the frustration of Gavin Hunt. The ninety minutes finished 0-0 with extra time and penalties on the horizon.
The first half of additional time saw fantastic opportunities for Dominic Isaacs and Bradley Grobler at either end, but both players sent their efforts agonisingly wide as penalties slowly became a reality while the clock ran down.
Ronwen Williams continued to prove his worth in goal as he denied Bennet Chenene, after the striker was released by a defence-splitting ball from Roger Da Costa. Chenene was a constant thorn in SuperSport’s side during extra-time but the electric striker could not find a winner for Swallows, as the match had to be determined by penalties.
Kermit Erasmus showed composure in netting the opening penalty for SuperSport with Nomvethe matching the striker with an equally poised effort.
Gyimah and Cohen both netted their attempts to make it 2-2 in the shoot-out, while Jabulani Maluleke put SuperSport in the lead. Roger da Costa could not match his teammates, sending his spot kick wide and giving Matsatsantsa the advantage.
Diouf made it 4-3 in favour of the hosts and Bradley Grobler stepped up and powered in an unstoppable effort to send SuperSport into the next round.